The message from the Jets special teams after Sunday’s loss was don’t blame Tim Tebow.
The momentum swung completely to the Dolphins with 4:03 left in the first quarter when Jimmy Wilson ran untouched through the heart of the Jets line to get his hand on a Robert Malone punt. The bouncing ball was picked up by Oliver Vernon for a 10-yard touchdown run and a 10-0 Dolphins lead. Coming off a bye week, it seems that the Dolphins did their homework on how to get after the Jets on a punt. Miami rolled to a 20-0 halftime lead and never looked back.
Immediately after the play, the blame fell on Tim Tebow, who was in on special teams as the personal punt protector. On the play, Tebow did pick-up and block Nolan Carroll, who had broken through on his left side, allowing Wilson to get free. Many at MetLife Stadium seemed to blame Tebow, who was booed when he ran onto the field for an offensive snap in the second quarter.
Metro asked Malone if the block was Tebow’s fault.
“It was a collection of people; it’s not any one person’s fault. You have to give credit to them. They did a really good job. They have two weeks to prepare; we gave them a lot of looks,” Malone said.
“They ran it perfectly. They couldn’t have gotten it any more perfect.”
The breakdown came on a day of miscues on special teams, including a blocked field goal right before halftime. It was kicker Nick Folk’s first miss of the season.
Special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff was livid on the sideline with Malone saying, “I’m sure it will be worse come film session.” The Jets have utilized Tebow several times this season to run a fake punt, but with the ball on their own 20-yard line that was not a viable call.
As the personal punt protector, Tebow is supposed to pick-up the first person to break through. But in this case, the Dolphins gambled that the Jets wouldn’t run a fake and decided to send the house. Malone actually thought he got the punt away cleanly, but instead his protection came down like the walls of Jericho.
“It was just a miscommunication between a couple offensive linemen. Give credit to them, they did a really good job. They schemed it really well,” Malone said. “They did a little pick on our center and went around. They had a couple guys there. If one didn’t block it, another one would have.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.